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whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day,"* should be the assured expression of your confidence in him. Firmly placed on the Rock of ages, and fully conscious of the security of your position, your closing life should be a realization of that promise in which God has engaged to keep in “perfect peace" those whose minds are stayed on him. The cheerful, all-sustaining faith of an aged Christian is one of the best testimonies to the worth and reality of religion, and furnishes a bright and encouraging example to the lambs of the flock. Weary and distressed by the arduous conflict in which he is engaged, the youthful Christian is frequently too ready to conclude with the desponding patriarch, “All these things are against me;"1_ or to exclaim with the sorrowful psalmist, “I shall perish one day." At such seasons in his experience, his faith is strengthened and his hope is revived, as he beholds the tranquillity and peace of some advanced believer, who has safely passed through similar trials, and successfully surmounted similar temptations to his own, and who is now enjoying a foretaste of that rest which remaineth to the people of God. Such repose is to him a pledge of his own
+ Isa. xxvi. 3.
* 2 Tim. i. 12.
I Gen. xlii. 36.
§ 1 Sam. xxvii. 1.
partial deliverance from toil and conflict; and the contemplation of it enables him to gird up the loins of his mind, and to run with patience the race set before him.
Then let those around you, Christian reader, see that your hope is like an anchor sure and stedfast; that you are now confidently resting upon those principles which have hitherto sustained and guided you.
Let no doubt shadow your peace; no anxiety ruffle your com posure. You have struggled long with trial and temptation; you have tested in your own experience the truth of God's promises; you have done his work among your fellow men; _and now you must calmly wait until your Father's loving voice bids you welcome home.
The evening of life! Evening is the time for reflection. Amidst the busy and exciting occupations of the day there is seldom much opportunity for serious consideration. Welldisciplined minds, it is true, can control their thoughts, and gather them around high and holy subjects, even in those moments which are necessarily devoted to worldly business; but most persons are so harassed and engrossed by the constant claims upon their time and attention, as scarcely to be able to cast a hurried glance on things which are unseen and remote; and they feel how welcome and how
desirable is the evening hour for quiet meditation, for self-examination, and for the formation of wise and good purposes.
Now, reader, your eventide of life should be consecrated to calm and elevated thought. Through the long period which is passed, you have not perhaps redeemed much time for hallowed consideration. Martha-like, you may have been cumbered with much serving; or Israel-like, you may have forgotten the Lord
. But whatever has been your previous history, you are now, by the infirmities of age, withdrawn from active duties, that you may muse upon coming realities. How thank, , ful should you feel that there is yet a brief space allotted you for pious thought and preparation, before you go hence and be no more seen !
In the peaceful twilight hour, when we sit alone and commune with our own hearts, our thoughts naturally turn to the occurrences of the past day.
Little incidents, too trifling perhaps to speak about, are reviewed and dwelt upon; virtuous actions which have been performed win the approval of conscience, and wanderings from duty call forth feelings of regret; pleasing events and painful trials have each a share in our pensive musings: varied indeed are the scenes which one day's panorama brings before our view. And then we generally glance at the future. We arrange our plans for the coming day: we look forward with glad expectance to the joys which are in store for us; or we shrink in fear and despondency from the troubles which seem associated with the morrow: and will not your thoughts, aged reader, thus chiefly divide themselves into retrospection and anticipation ? Retrospection.
"Thou shalt remember all the
way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness."* Old age is the most appropriate season for this consideration of the past. The judgment is not so likely to be warped by the heat of excitement, nor the feelings to be swayed by the influence of passion, as in youthful days. The veteran, as he recalls the battle-field, can mark events, and form opinions, far more advantageously than the soldier who is engaged in the midst of an action. Contemplate, then, your whole life from the dawn of infancy to its present decline; trace out the many windings of your pathway through the world; survey each minute feature of your changeful history.
But is it pleasant to look back ? Are there not many places in our pilgrimage where memory dislikes to linger ? are there not many facts in life's early records which we feel happier in forgetting? True, the remembrance of our
* Deut. viii. 2.
imperfections and our sins is painful and self-condemning; yet it is always best to open one's eyes to the truth. Enter, then, into a full and faithful examination of your past history. Scrutinize your motives by the tests with which God's word furnishes you; and try your conduct by his holy law. Let neither pride nor prejudice hide the real state of things from your view. How important is it that, on the confines of eternity, you should be kept from self-deception! Ask God himself to be your teacher. Make this your prayer, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."*
What then is the result of your investigation ? What verdict does conscience, enlightened from above, give concerning the past ? It may be, nay it must be, that you find enough in your recollections to overwhelm you with sorrow and confusion. So much selfishness and worldliness have mingled with your brightest deeds; so much unfaithfulness has been connected with your professed allegiance to Christ; SO much impurity of heart and defilement of life are discovered by your rigid self-inspection, that you are ready to exclaim with the psalmist, “Enter not into judgment with thy servant,
* Psa. cxxxix. 23,